From my Theia's kitchen

Theia (Aunt) Machi is my father’s baby sister. With a fifteen-year age gap between them, she is often referred to as ‘the accident’. She migrated to Australia at the age of nineteen at my father’s urging.

Now that my mother is no longer with us, Theia Machi is the undisputed baking queen in the family.  Her baking skills shine at Christmas, Easter and other yiortes. She has also inherited the task of making my birthday cake every year. This is her recipe for melamakarona, cake-like honey-walnut biscuits which are traditionally eaten at Christmas.

Melomakarona: honey-walnut Yuletide biscuits

For the biscuits

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup brandy
  • zest and juice of an orange

For the syrup

  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

For the topping

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl combine flour, baking power and baking soda. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine oil, sugar, brandy, orange juice and orange rind. Incorporate the mixture into the flour.

Knead lightly. Get a heaped dessert spoon full of the dough and roll it into a 6-8cm oval (it Place on a tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven for 15- 20 minutes or until light brown.

To make the syrup, combine the sugar, water and honey in a saucepan and boil for five minutes. Take it off the heat and allow to cool. Using a slotted spoon, dip the biscuits in the syrup and then place on a serving plate. Top with chopped walnuts and cinnamon.